A rooster named Earl

Published 10:44 am Friday, January 11, 2013

The folks at the Sunoco across from the Food Lion in Courtland have adopted a rooster.

Earl has lived at the Sunoco station in Courtland for eight months. -- GWEN ALBERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

Eight months ago, Earl’s owner stopped by the Route 58 gas station to fill up the boat he was towing, said assistant manager Barbara Cannady. The man pulled back the tarp on the boat, and Earl flew out.

Anxious to go fishing, the man gave up his search for the bird.

Earl has since befriended five stray kittens that also live there, Barbara said.

“They’re like sisters and brothers,” she said.

Earl also has a following. Some customers come by weekly with oats and grain for Earl and food for the kittens, she said. If they don’t stop, Barbara makes sure they are fed.

One of Earl’s favorites is corn chips.

Barbara said she never sees the kittens or rooster go near the busy highway. They tend to remain in the woods behind the station.

Failed attempts have been made to give Earl another home.

• The Peanut Patch gift shop and Feridies, both in Courtland, at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan 11, will be featured on WAVY TV-10’s “Hampton Roads Show.”

A television crew on Tuesday spent several hours at the gift shop on Southampton Parkway and peanut-processing facility in Southampton Agri-Business Park, said Jane Riddick-Fries, a co-owner of both businesses. The businesses will be featured for a segment called “Made in Hampton Roads.”

“We’re very excited to have this exposure,” Riddick-Fries said.

Twins Bob and Bill Riddick in 1973 opened The Peanut Patch in a turn-of-the-century building on Main Street in Courtland for refinishing antiques.

The Riddicks eventually decided to sell Virginia peanuts and promote them worldwide. After a few years, they decided to cook, package and sell their own brand of Virginia peanuts known for their large size and crunchy texture.

In 1994, The Peanut Patch moved to the Route 58 bypass. In 2007, a manufacturing facility was built in the Agri Business Park.